15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2003
This film fully deserves the 5 oscars that it was given, and the five stars i have given it. It is a deeply moving tale of three friends from Pensylvannia that leave their homes to fight in Vietnam. The film isn't all action orientated, as you may expect with a film about the vietnam war, but it does have some very violent scenes. The now infamous Russian Roulette scene is extremely tense and will have you on the edge of your seat. The extras on Disc 2 are excelent. There is a 20 odd minute interview with director, Cimino and other interviews as well.
Critics say that this film is too slow moving, or some of the scenes are boring. But, i think that these scenes help portray a picture of REAL men fighting in a REAL war. I think that this film should be owned by all DVD owners who value a good film over simple action orientated tosh.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2002
described,often, as the most realistic nam' film ever made, you can see that despite sometimes looking like 'the cool war' people did go through hell. the film is split into three acts - at home pre-war, the war, and at home post-war. you may think that the war scenes are the most important, and though they are very compelling, it is the bookends that hold significance and give this film the punch that it packs. we see friendship affected in front of us and it is distressing to watch their pain, which is aided by a sweetly melancholic score-john williams on guitar. we care about these people, and this is the crux of its effectivness. de niro is great, in his favourite own role, as is walken, who stole the acting plaudits. my favourite scenes seem strange but encompass what makes the film great - the gang singing 'you're just too good to be true' in the bar, the scene with michael and nick talk about hunting just after this scene, and the last scene, where the cook starts crying as he is preparing food. utterly affecting and often leaves me with nothing to say. not the best film i've seen, but my favourite.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2006
I know THE DEER HUNTER (1978) has been critcised for it's infamous Russian Roulette scene, but this isn't a political movie. The film is far more interested in the lives of the characters, before they went to the Vietnam war, during the war and when they return home.
Undoubtedly my favourite scene in the movie is the wedding party. It's is long, but it really makes you want to join in and it shows the depth of the characters. The cinematography is beautiful and the performances are all excellent. The mournful guitar theme, which plays out during the opening titles will stay with me forever.
It's just a crying shame that the man who directed this Oscar-winning masterpiece, Michael Cimino, has never repeated the same success throughout his career (his next film was the infamous turkey HEAVEN'S GATE ), but THE DEER HUNTER will be remembered as one of the finest films of the 1970's and will also remind us all that Hollywood truly did made some brilliant movies (no Bruckheimer-explosions, no bland CGI and no show-off media celebrities).
on 13 December 2014
If this were just a film about a small town wedding in late 60s America, that would merit it being called a masterpiece on its own - the mistimed kisses, the stumbles and awkwardnesses that happen in every wedding party, are beautifully observed. The segue into the horrors of the Vietnam War jolts us into a terrifyingly different kind of film. The controversial Russian roulette scene will always divide audiences, and it is best interpreted perhaps, as an allegory of America's post-industrial decline instigated by suicidal military adventurism abroad, rather than as a literal event. Likewise, viewers will be divided as to whether or not the closing moments of the film are intended to be ironic. This is a serious and and important film, not so much for its coverage of the conflict in VIetnam, but more as a document of America struggling to find and assert its identity in an increasingly bewildering world dominated by the Cold War. Robert de Niro, Meryl Streep, John Savage and Christopher Walken all excel in their roles, as does Streep's partner, John Cazale, who insisted on completing filming despite being terminally ill and in considerable pain. Seen through the prism of America's more recent military involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Deer Hunter remains as relevant as ever.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2004
Although based in Vietnam this film is far more a look at the effects of war on the soldiers and the people "back home" in America than a film about the war (less than half the film is based in the actual war zone). You can really be sure your getting a vietnam film when it is entirely A-political and the Americans are not only the good guys, but also victims of the war.
This is the story of three friends who go to war together for their country and their people. Upon their return we see the psychological effects of the war on their characters. The characters become unwilling or unable to form relationships, self destructive, lonely and in some cases appear to remove any trace of personality. One of the most interesting aspects of this film is actually the relevance of the title; the deer hunting is used so well to gie us an insight into the characters, their attitudes and their loyalties. The wedding scene being equally vital for showing depth to the characters but it is the hunting later in the film that allows us to see how things change.
As a director Cimino really shines here. If you are a fan of his previous work, then you'll probably find this to be his best piece. The character development and depth is truly brilliant. He really allows the audience to get attached to the characters, which he uses to its best advantage later when we see how they have changed. Cimino creates a feeling where the film is no longer entertainment, but a lesson! A lesson that we watch and although shocked, we are thankful for.
The acting from DeNiro and Walken really is amazing and without them the overall feeling of this picture may not have been possible.
This is a film that will be especially loved by fans of the vietnam genre, but can really be loved by a mauch wider audience.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2007
I have just bought this dvd on the strength of the description on Amazon which is normally very reliable. I was replacing my stereo vhs which I could have transferred to dvd but wanted the improvement of 5.1 audio, hence I bought this particular edition. The Audio is actually STEREO AND NOT 5.1 so unless the 1st reviewer got his versions mixed up the description is wrong.
NOTE TO AMAZON A HUGELY BENIFICIAL IMPROVEMENT TO YOUR SITE WOULD BE TO DISPLAY THE REVERSE OF THE DVD AS WELL AS THE FRONT SO THE DVD SPECIFICATION WOULD BE UNAMBIGOUS.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2001
'The Deerhunter' had, for me, everything I had wanted from 'Apocalypse Now.' It was moving and sad, and at the same time very frightening. The character of Nick, and the appalling images in the final game of Russian Roulette, said everything that Brando's shambling portrayal of Kurtz did not. Robert De Niro, in one of his finest performances, gave us the horrors committed on the American Troops, as well as the horrors committed by them. 'The Deerhunter' is not only one of the finest American Vietnam films, it is one of the finest American films. And anyone who thinks that the final rendition of 'God Bless America' is a valediction really hasn't thought at all.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This amazing film will leave you shell-shocked. Made before Apocalypse Now, and eight or nine years before Platoon and Full Metal Jacket it was the first major film to deal with the Vietnam war.
The film breaks down into three main sections. The opening long section, is all about character development. The first time you see it you may think this section is too long, but with subsequent viewings it becomes more and more important to the films structure.
The second section in Vietnam starts very suddenly and is a complete nightmare. Everybody knows about the Roulette scene but this is only one part that vividly displays the hideous nature of war and the inhumanity of man to his fellow man.
The after effects of this are shown in the third section, which is all the more shocking because for the men involved the war is over, but the psychological damage caused by the war has changed their lives.
This really is an epic film that you need to see more than once. However, unlike a lot of Hollywood films this deals with the realities of war and you may not find repeated viewings easy to take!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2011
Whenever I come aross a list of So-Called Classics You Can't Sit Through, The Deer Hunter usually figures in there somewhere. Having revisited it on odd occasions through the years, and now on Blu-ray, I think it's one that's best viewed once you're past the 'blockbuster' phase.
As you become interested in cinema as an art form, there comes a pivotal moment (usually during The Further Adventures of Optimus Prime or suchlike) when you realise that the extended ILM showreel you're watching is quite soulless. You begin seeking decent characterisation and a truthful experience. This is what The Deer Hunter offers.
The film is a powerful drama that concerns a group of Pennsylvania steel-workers and what happens to three of them when they serve in Vietnam. It's directed by Michael Cimino, this being his brief period as Hollywood's next big thing before his self-indulgent Heaven's Gate nearly bankrupted United Artists and therefore his career.
I was first aware of it when it occupied my local picture house for what seemed an age. There was obviously something in it that kept audiences coming. I wasn't old enough and so had to wait for a television showing, and can remember how bored I was that it didn't 'cut to the chase' quickly enough. By the time that most stories had left the first act far behind, I was enduring a 40-minute wedding sequence. I just couldn't see the point of it. Bring on Vietnam.
Now, however, I appreciate the boldness of Cimino's vision: the more time spent establishing the dramatis personae, the greater the emotional investment - and the bigger the return on it as you witness what becomes of them. The Vietnam section is a masterful study of how brutality sends the soul down different paths: Robert De Niro's level-headed de facto leader, John Savage's nervous wreck and - most mesmerising of all - Christopher Walken's Oscar-winning descent from naivety to deadly addiction.
This collector's Blu-ray (2009 edition) comes with a booklet and a historical documentary in addition to the extras from the 2-disc DVD release. Although at first glance it looks as though there are no subtitles, the menu is rather poorly designed. You have to select your language first and then several subtitle options become visible. You shouldn't have any quibbles about the presentation: the picture and sound are first-rate.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2007
(Warning: this film contains war bruality and violence that is "not suitable" for sensitive people)
The Deer Hunter was the one, that no studio would take on, following the end of American involvement of Vietnam, a couple of years previous. The help of Sir Henry Belfonte, the chairman of EMI as one of a three-picture-deal, ensured it was made and released to the public.
Fresh out of Thunderbolt and Lightening, Cimino and his crew studied the impact of Vietnam War, via many sources, to add to the accuracy and realism of the tough times in half capitalist and half communist divided states of North and South Vietnam.
The Deer Hunter deals with a group of blue-collar steel workers drinking buddies' in a small Pennyslevania town. Michael and Nick are the closest and are probably seen in our eyes as the most afraid of going to fight, Nick promises whatever happens, he wants Michael to take him home where he belongs......
The title, is a metaphor, since in this case, the men refer the deers as "girls", hence it is important to find one to settle down with and that "you've only got one shot" like the precise shot to kill the deer, to get it right before the oppertunity is gone forever.
The acting, shows the men try to stride along with three serving in Vietnam, how difficult and lost their lives' become, how empty and meaningless. The performance of Walkden, who comes across as loving, cheery and happy, slowly reverts in a suicidal troubled man whose longing to go back, means nothing to him now. De Niro gives the emotion of a man of dedication, glory and trust, but deeply worrying and sad. Meryl Streep in her first main role, plays the role of abused Linda, who is Nick's girlfriend, but doesn't cherish her love for him as much as she likes to think.
The editing of The Deer Hunter places the film into chapters, broken down and easy to follow, to show the horror of war and conflict, also the slow distrengtion of their friendship and the lives' which are recked.
The Deer Hunter is daunting, brisk and moving, it is one of the finest Best Picture films and arguably one of the finest seventies films ever made.